John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Stage play for high school students. First Night of Twelfth Night. A ten minute play


A ten-minute play

Francesco Bracciano
MALE  Plays the role of Antonio, a friend of Sebastian, he rescues him and is much taken with him. Francesco is in love with Paolo
Paolo Bellus
MALE Plays Sebastian. Paolo is in love with Paolo.
  Isabella who plays his twin in the stage play 
Isabella De’Medici
FEMALE  Plays Viola. She is dressed as a man . Isabella is in love with Francesco. Isabella doesn’t know that is Francesco Gay or that  Paolo is in love with her
John Hilaris
MALE Plays Orsino, the Duke Illyria. As the play opens he pines for Lady Olivia
Hedda Gabler
FEMALE  Plays the kind and spirited Maria. She is Isabella’s best friend
Arion Iocus
MALE  Plays Feste, a jester
Barbie Stolidus
FEMALE  Plays Malvolio, the sour and straitlaced head servant who is at odds with the rest of her household. She is a puritan, and thus disproves of most of the characters actions
Heather Louis Sterilis
FEMALE Play Olivia, a countess
Manuel Exesto
MALE Plays Sir Toby Belch
Bobby Confuto
MALE  Sir Andrew Aguecheek
Ima Silens
MALE Plays  the Captain
Mr. Benigne

MALE , older man, he is Allessandria’s father

Scene: The actors lounge behind stage

Scene one.

The sound of rain and thunder

Francesco (Reading from the script to John as Orsino)
If music be the food of love, play on, Give me excess of it that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die. That strain again, it had a dying fall.
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound  That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour. Enough, no more, ’Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
Beat  Got it? Look, what your character, Orsino, is saying there is that he’s love sick, and he’s telling the musicians to give him so much music and food that he won’t want to be in love anymore. So the whole thing raises this question through the whole play about whether romantic love has more to do with the reality of the person who is loved or with the lover’s own imagination. Okay? (He hands him back the script)

Yeah.  I Think so.  (Beat) No (Beat) Wait. Yes. (Beat) No, I mean no. No, Wait
I think I’m going to throw up

Lightening cracks, rain pours

Calm down, it’s just opening night jitters

I hate Shakespeare. The man is idiot! And that’s a stupid name too. The word shake should not be in a name! I don’t care if you are a foreign guy. Its stupid!

Heather Louis(looking out the window)
It’s pouring out there. Will they come out in the rain? What if nobody comes out? What if .....

Lightening cracks, rain pours

John (Snaps at her)
Calm down! It’s just jitters night opening!

Heather (Motioning they form a circle)
Where are my actors? All right actors, gather around and lets loosen up

The actors gather in a circle and loosen up

Heather (The actors raise their hands when they are mentioned)
Okay, so we all know why we’re here the play is Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Francesco you’re playing the role of Antonio, Paolo you’re our Sebastian. Isabella you’re Viola, John you’ll kill as Orsino. Hedda  you’re the spirited and supportive Maria, Isabella’s best friend. Arion you’re out noble and wise clown and you also play the role of Feste (She winks at him) Barbie you’re Malvolio, the sour head servant, Heather Louis you’re Olivia, a countess, Manuel is Sir Toby Bobby is Sir Andrew and finally Ima is the Captain. Madeline is our dramatag.  Madeline wants to run us again on the play?

The plot in Twelfth Night is the usual Shakespeare comedy plot. Confusion reigns. The action traces a movement from conflict to the resolution of conflict, from some sort of figurative bondage to freedom, despite obstacles, complications, reversals, and discoveries. It always ends with celebration and unity. It’s very convoluted, twisted and confusing, and extremely hard to follow. Is everyone following me on this? I guess theme in the play is Carpe Diem, seize the day. All right, that’s it break a leg. 

Mr. Gabbler enters and walks, head down, towards the wings. He wears an ominous rain hat and coat.  The cast stares at him. He looks mean. He stops at the wings with his back to them.

Can I help you? (Beat) This room is only for actors Sir. Sir?

Barbie looks at Bobby

Huh, well, it’s a good thing for you I gotta go on stage. (To Barbie in exaggerated macho) He causes a  problem....let me know. (Blowing up his chest, flexing his muscles, he walks away toward the stage. On stage he exhales and drops his chest)     

“Beware good sir that night falls” (Beat) Why is it, that night falls but day breaks?

Well you know,  Shakespeare had a vocabulary of 17,000 words. That's pretty impressive.

Yeah, but I’ll bet he used a lot of those words twice. 

Scene Two.
Madeline (To the cast)
This is Act Two. The action is rising. Confusion reigns Sebastian, the twin brother Viola feared had died at sea, has also survived the shipwreck. Like Viola he mourns the loss of his sibling, believing his sister Viola to be dead. Cesario is confused, Cesario return to confirm that Orsino has accepted the fact that she does not love him. Orsino notices that Cesario slash Viola is in love. Cesario describes this person in terms that precisely describe Orsino but Orsino does not realize this. Cesario warns the Duke that Lady Olivia may not love him Cesario (Viola) remarks on the unreliability of men in relationships. Cesario starts to reveal "his" own past. Orsino sends Cesario once more to Lady Olivia with a large jewel as a token of his love for her... Malvolio, meanwhile having not yet found the letter, starts entertaining the idea that Olivia could love him and that he could marry her. Are we all clear on that?

Antonio (VO off stage)
Will you stay no longer? Nor will you not that I go with you?

Paolo (Reads his lines while staring at Isabella)
Conceal me what I am, and be my aid For such disguise as haply shall become The form of my intent.

Isabella  (Reads her lines while staring at Francesco who is staring at Paolo) I prithee, vent thy volley somewhere else. Thou know’st not me

On stage, Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek are on stage listening to Feste, who as he speaks his lines stares at Francesco

Feste (AKA Ferdinando)
What is love? 'tis not hereafter;  Present mirth hath present laughter; What's to come is still unsure: In delay there lies no plenty 

Olivia (VO Off stage, Allessandria staring at Francesco, says the same words)
Ungracious wretch,  Fit for the mountains and the barbarous caves, Where manners ne'er were preached!

John (screaming, hands in the air, running in circles)
Scene change! Scene change! Why didn’t somebody tell me! Where are my pants! Where are my pants! I have to go on stage with no pants!

Heather  (Grabs him by the arms)
John! John! (She speaks slowly and firmly) You....have....your.....pants.....on

John (looks down, sees his pants, touches them looks up and smiles looks back down and sees he has no shoes on) Dear God! Where are my shoes! Where are my shoes! Where are my shoes! Wardrobe! (He runs out of the room)

Francesco is reading his lines alone in a corner. Isabella, sitting with Hedda is staring lovingly at him.

He’s so mature, urban, and intelligent. He loves the theater. Isn’t he gorgeous?

Yeah, I guess (She nods towards Paolo) His friends a doll

Yeah, but kind of a snob. He talks to everybody but me.

Ferdinando plops down next to Paolo who is reading his lines

Ferdinando (He looks over at Francesco)
So you and Francesco are close.

Paolo (reading his lines)
Oh yeah

What’s he like?

Paolo (looks up from his lines)
I dunno. He’s...like him. I dunno.

Viola (VO Offstage)
I am all the daughters of my father's house, And all the brothers too.

Scene Three.
Madeline (To the cast)
This is Act Three. The turning point, confusion reigns. Cesario slash Viola tries to put Olivia off him but she is smitten, ignoring all Cesario's attempts to diminish her enthusiasm for "him"...knowing Lady Olivia will never love him, Sir Andrew prepares to head for home. The sight of Olivia showing more affection to Cesario than him was the last straw. Fabian and Sir Toby don't deny the affectionate display but argue Olivia did it to spur Sir Andrew to woo her and regain her respect. Alone with Cesario once more, Lady Olivia makes no progress with Cesario who will not requit her love. Antonio thinks Sebastian has betrayed him, not realizing he has asked Cesario slash Viola for his purse, not Sebastian....is that clear?

The cast exits except Paolo and Francesco. They sit next to each other Paolo is running his lines.

Want some help?

Paolo (Hands him the script)
Sure ‘How does he love me?’

With adorations, fertile tears.  With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire

Francesco throws the script aside, grabs Paolo by the head and kisses him.
Paolo angrily pushes him away, stands, fists clenched.  Isabella enters the room, sees what’s going on and leaves.

What you doing? Are you...do you think that I’m.....What are doing?

I just thought ...

Well you thought wrong!

Hedda  (VO off stage)
Save thee, friend, and thy music: dost thou live by thy tabour?

The cast reenters the room

Manuel  (Speaking to Mr. Gabler’s  back but looking out to the stage)
She’s really taken the part to heart. She’s playing the role perfectly

Mr. Gabbler is looking out on the state, he does not answer, or even turn to Manuel. Offended, he walks away.

John (Running in, waving his arms)
Scene change! Scene Change! Why didn’t somebody tell me! You’re all out to get me aren’t you? I hate you people. I wish you would die! I hate Shakespeare. I wish he would die. I hate....

Heather (grabs him by the arms)
John! John! (She shakes him)  You....are...not....in...this....scene.

Long beat. John looks around the room at the other staring at him

John (Subdued)
Really sorry about that whole ‘Out to get me thing’ (Beat) and the whole, like ‘die’ thing (Beat) and the ‘I hate you’ stuff and (Beat) lets see I think that covers everything....

What about Shakespeare?

John (Subdued, nodding his head)
No, I still pretty much hate Shakespeare. Is he dead, by the way, does anybody know? Somebody Google Shakespeare CHAKE-SPEAR

Olivia (VO Off stage)
Why, this is very midsummer madness

Scene Four.
Madeline (To the cast)
This is Act Four. The falling action act. Confusion reigns Sebastian is now mistaken for Cesario. Sir Andrew finds Sebastian and thinking it is Cesario from the earlier "fight" that did not happen, hits Sebastian. Olivia screams for her uncle, Sir Toby to stop and colds Sir Toby, hoping Sebastian, whom she thinks is Cesario slash Viola, will forgive her uncle and Sebastian can barely believe his luck, a beautiful woman like Olivia loves him Olivia explains that their now secret marriage will be revealed later...is that clear?

Exit Fernando to the stage

Ferdinando (VO off stage)
Will you make me believe that I am not sent for you?

Hedda comes off of the stage and greets her father who is standing in the wings. She speaks very clearly, very slowly. She waves her hand

Hello Daddy. Did you see me?

Mr. Gabler signs

(Interpreting) Yes, you’ve really taken the part to heart. (Beat)Yes. I am trying to play it perfectly

BEAT. He signs again.

What? Oh...(Nods and smiles, she gets it) Yeah...I didn’t recognize it.
 (Reciting) His very genius hath taken the infection of the device, man.
Sir Tony, Third act, fourth scene. You love Shakespeare don’t you?  

BEAT. He signs again.

(Interpreting) Is it wonderful to speak Shakespeare? (Beat, whispers) Yes. (Beat)  If God granted me one wish for my life I would wish that you could hear the beauty of the bard’s words and I only know they are beautiful because of you.

BEAT. He signs again.

(Interpreting) Some things you hear with your heart. (Beat, she looks out onto the stage) That’s me, I’m on. Goodbye (She waves, steps forward, turns back around and steps close to him) Thank you for giving me Shakespeare. I love the guy.

She exits onto the stage

Hedda (From stage)
If ever thou shalt love, In the sweet pangs of it, remember me.

She turns and winks at him,  he smiles, for the first time that evening.  As he passes Bobby, Bobby steps in front of Barbie protectively

Malvolio (VO offstage)
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em

John (Runs into the room, screaming arms wailing)
Where’s my parasol! Somebody stole my parasol! You’re all a bunch of crooks! I never trusted you people! Somebody stole my parasol! All right! Strip search! Everybody

Heather  (Grabs him by the arms)
Johns! Johns! (She speaks slowly and firmly) Your...character ...doesn’t...have....a ...parasol (Beat)  That was My Fair Lady. (Beat) We not doing that anymore! This is a different play! (Beat) For God’s sakes, grow a pair will you, for God sakes.

Olivia (VO offstage)
The clock upbraids me with the waste of time.

Scene Five.
This is Act Five, the conclusion. No more confusion and the rain has stopped as well.

Ferdinando (VO off stage)
Now, as thou lovest me, let me see his letter.

Ferdinando enters and sits and reads his lines aloud. Lightening cracks, rain pours

Come away, come away, death,  And in sad cypress let me be laid;   Fly away, fly away breath; 
 I ...

Francesco (Looking off into the distance)
am slain

Lightening cracks, rain pours

Francesco (realizes what he’s done to Ferdinando’s line)

It’s okay. Is everything alright?

Paolo rushes in from on stage Francesco, without acknowledging Ferdinando’s concern, stands and follows Paolo.

Francesco (To Paolo)
We’ve been friends for four years. You’re my best friend. Is this how this ends? Like this? Your going to send me out in the cruel world like this?

Paolo considers it.


They embrace. As they do, Paolo gooses Francesco.

Francesco (to Isabella)
Did you know this guy is wild about you? He’s had a silent crush on you for four years.

Does he speak?

Not well, but yes (To Palo) Go ahead say something


He never talked to you about because, and I quote, ‘mere words would diminish the depth of my feeling for her’

Isabella (Sweetly)
Oh....(to Allessandria) It’s a lie but it’s such a sweet lie isn’t it?

John enters. He listens to the next line “Come kiss me”. His mouth falls open.

Isabella (Cont)
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty

Paolo walks over and kisses her. John frantically flips through his script. He throws it in the air

John (Screaming running out of the room)
They changed the script! I have the wrong script! Where’s the writer? I knew they were out to get me! I hate you people.....

Ouy, he is a such a crazy person

Paolo and Isabella exit, hand in hand. Ima exits

Ferdinando Iocus (Watching Paolo and Isabella)
That, that is, is.

Francesco (Defeated)

Shakespeare (Beat) and I (Beat) meant that in a positive way.

Francesco shrugs, he doesn’t get it.

(Shouts) About us! Me and you! (Beat no longer shouting) Do you even know I’m alive? (Beat) I mean, do you even know my name? (beat) Do you even see me when I’m in a room? Because when your in the room, you’re all I see. (Beat) God,  I’m so embarrassed right now. I wish I could just disappear.

Long silence. As long as the scene and remaining time will allow

Francesco (Smiling)
Journeys end in lovers meeting.

Ferdinando (Smiling)
That’s my line

Silence. They smile at each other.

Speaking of lines, why is their silence on stage? 


Oh my God! It’s my line! It’s my line! It’s my line! It’s my line!

He rushes out onto the “exposed stage”. In the meantime the other actors who are in the lounge, circle around behind him.  

A great while ago the world begun, With hey, ho, But that's all one, our play is done

The cast bows. Lights fade. Dark stage.